List of 10 must-try Okinawan street foods

Japan's only tropical archipelago has a diverse food culture and is full of Okinawan street food. Here are 10 popular dishes to enjoy while on the go or looking for something to pair with a drink!

10 must-try Okinawan street foods


1. Nuyaru Burger

Jef is an American-style dining restaurant in Okinawa with three stores in the prefecture. Popular dishes on the menu are originally made with fresh local ingredients. In particular, Nuyaru Burger is a unique dish whose name is derived from the Okinawan word "Nu Yaru Baga" which means "what is it?" It consists of pork, eggs, cheese, goya (bitter gourd) and mayonnaise sandwiched in a burger bun. The sourness of the special mayonnaise, the richness of the cheese, and the bitterness of the goya complement the eggs, making a great combination in  this Okinawan street food !

 

Nuyaru Burger - Okinawan Street FoodNuyaru Burger

 

2. Egg and Meat Onigiri

Onigiri made from pork (lunch meat) is very popular in Okinawa. Pork is processed, full of flavor and a common ingredient in many dishes. Egg and pork onigiri (rice ball) consists of a slice of pork and fried egg, wrapped in steamed rice and nori seaweed. Eggs and pork are a great combination to please any palate. Various other foods such as abura miso fried in oil and deep fried tofu are often added. Besides other Okinawan street foods , pork and egg onigiri can be found at all convenience stores and supermarkets in Okinawa.

 

Egg and Meat Onigiri - Okinawan Street FoodOnigiri eggs and meat

 

3. Sata-andagi

In the Okinawan language, "sata" means "sugar" and "andagi" means "fried." As the name implies, it is a donut made from a mixture of sugar, flour, and eggs. When freshly cooked, crispy on the outside, moist on the inside but not too sweet, is a perfect snack. In addition to the classic taste, various Okinawan ingredients such as brown sugar, pineapple, and sweet potato are added, making the taste comparisons interesting. If you want to warm up your sata-andagi, simply toast them lightly in the toaster to bring them back to their original warmth and sweetness.

 

 Okinawan street foodSata-andagi

 

4. Okinawa Zenzai

A classic Okinawan shaved ice. In mainland Japan, sweets made with red beans, such as rice cakes and shiratama (rice flour) dumplings with bean paste, are called Zenzai or Oshiruko. While for Okinawa Zensai, kintoki beans are boiled with sugar or brown sugar, chilled and put in a bowl, then shiratama and shaved ice are added to complete the dish. Cooked kintoki beans have a pleasantly sweet taste and the sticky balls covered with shaved ice accentuate the tantalizing texture of this Okinawan street food . Okinawa Zenzai is loved by everyone as a sweet dessert.

 

Okinawa Zenzai - Okinawan Street FoodOkinawa Zenzai

 

5. Tempura

Tempura is one of the Japanese dishes that has become popular all over the world. It's a popular Japanese deep-fried dish that usually has a crispy texture and is covered with a light batter. In the Okinawa Islands , tempura is made with a thick, fried dough. It is characterized by the flavor of the dough and is a dish loved by Okinawans of all ages. It is used as a side dish, snack, added to rice when hungry and as a snack to drink with alcohol. Almost anything can be an ingredient from fish and flour to mozuku seaweed and sweet potatoes.

 

Tempura - Okinawan street foodTempura

6. Kamaboko

traditional Japanese dish , kamaboko is made by grinding and kneading white fish meat then cooked by steaming. Various types of kamaboko are sold in Okinawa, but the specialty of Okinawa kamaboko is that it is fried. Burdock root and carrot are also added to create varieties such as thin chikiagi, medium-sized chigiri and a small round finger dish. The flavor is quite nutty and slightly chewy, making it a versatile and convenient Okinawan street food that can be eaten as a side dish or added as an ingredient in miso or oden soup.

 

Kamaboko - Okinawan street foodKamaboko

 

7. Onisasa

This Okinawan street food is for everyone. Onisasa is a local gourmet folk dish that you definitely want to taste when visiting Ishigaki Island. It's a food unique to Okinawa , all mixed together in a plastic bag, and ingredients include fried chicken sasami fillets, sauces and seasonings of your choice, and rice balls. The dish is finished by squeezing it all together in a plastic bag. Despite the messy appearance, fried chicken and rice balls are a perfect combination. Crispy on the outside, fresh and delicious on the inside. The beauty of it is that you can choose the rice balls and ingredients you like and create your own onisasa.

 

Onisasa - Okinawan street foodOnisasa

8. Fried chicken thighs

Okinawa has the largest number of fried chicken chains in Japan! In addition to chicken specialty stores, supermarkets and convenience stores sell a variety of chicken dishes. People take them as gifts, or to eat during festivals, Christmas. Chicken thighs are one of the most popular snacks among young people in Okinawa , as they are reasonably priced and delicious. Try a fried chicken thigh, which is crispy on the outside and the meat is delicious enough to make you squirm. This is an attractive dish in Okinawa  that can make you full and can be eaten with just your bare hands when walking on the street.

 

Fried chicken thighs - Okinawan street foodFried chicken thighs

 

9. Blue Seal Cream

Blue Seal is a specialty ice cream shop that originates in the United States and is available in Okinawa. An iconic Okinawan ice cream brand that has long been a favorite with locals. In addition to classic flavors, such as Blue Wave, which is a combination of pineapple ice cream and sherbet soft drink, they also offer unique Okinawan flavors such as sweet potato, sugar cane, and salted chinsuko cookies. The flavors of the ingredients are distinct, and the mellow flavor is common with no matter a person's age or gender. They are sold in many stores throughout urban areas, shopping centers and tourist establishments, so be sure to look out for the Blue Seal ice cream sign!

 

Blue Seal Ice Cream - Okinawan Street FoodBlue Seal Ice Cream

 

10. Cakes

Okinawa has been greatly influenced by American food culture, making it one of the best places in Japan to enjoy authentic American pies. You can enjoy the full range of American bakery flavors at steakhouses and restaurants as well as in specialty bakeries. In addition to the classic apple, cherry, and pumpkin pies, there are many others, such as pies made with Okinawan ingredients like sweet potatoes and taimo (a type of yams). Okinawan-style donuts  are popular as souvenirs and gifts, and are sold whole or cut into smaller pieces or just eaten.

 

Baked Cakes - Okinawan Street FoodPies
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